There're anime where the ending will leave you satisfied.
There're cliffhanger anime for people to die for a sequel.
There're even anime that just leaves cliffhangers and never come back.
There're those garbage anime that you just don't feel anything at all.
And there's Madoka, an anime with an amazing story, art, sound, character, but a soulless and downright devilish ending.
There will be absolutely no plot at all, because I want people to understand and be ready for anything.
And, I tell you, you'll need to be.
[P.S. There are absolutely no plot summaries in here, but the vocabularies and terms I use may indirectly suggest a minor point of the
This story is meant to leave an unsatisfactory ending. The motif is pretty clear: the Bible and the genesis of God and Lucifer.
Come on, our world hasn't come to an end, has it? A story based on our world, a never-ending cycle of unsatisfactory endings cannot be satisfactory by itself, unless by deception and/or imagination.
Urobuchi, author of Fate/Zero and Madoka among many others, is famous for a seamless plotline. I cannot state that this movie has brought down his fame, because all his stories had dark motifs. Indeed, this movie has left an unsatisfactory ending, but this is a masterpiece, creating an amazing transition between theogenesis and diablogenesis.
How could I dare say that unsatisfying ending crushes this masterpiece?
Imagine Madoka being reanimated with Monogatari: Second Season's animation technology.
Now add malice to that.
Now add another plot twist to that.
That does not even begin how great the movie was.
The seemingly childish animation was still there, but the malice was all the more heightened, getting into the fine line between creepiness and evilness.
A wise mangaka once stated that drawing a malicious face (not angry face) was not an easy job. He stated that the background, the eye, the position of the panel, the position of the character, darkness, facial expression and etc were all necessary to make one malicious face.
Then how much harder would it be to draw nearly an hour-long malice?
Shaft studio, producers of monogatari series and of course madoka among many others, is known for their ability to, despite using quite "cheating" methods, send chills down the viewers' spine. Using scenes where the character simply stands, or where the name of the font used or color of the scene or sometimes seemingly scanning the clothings or skirts of an unknown origin, Shaft studio actually makes a great success of delivering an heightened message to the viewers.
And, truth be told, I could not catch a single misgivings about the animation of the movie. When malice was needed, Shaft did their job. When they needed a happy tea time, Shaft did their job. When they needed a battle scene, Shaft did their job. No more colors or fonts. They did their job.
If there's one criterion I always cut down and attack, it's the sound. Being a very keen person in sound, I always wanted the producers to use the "perfect" BGMs (of course nothing is perfect but still I can dream?!) at the "perfect" moment. But I have to say it--rebellion nailed it.
The song was as creepy as it could get. The background musics at the moment of realization was so good that I got a chill down my spine and nearly pissed myself (true story). On the opening, ClaRis did their usual mislead. The general "ah, this is a magical girls' story! There're absolutely no genre-twisting stories or one of those Urobuchi things in here!" and comforted the slaughter lambs. Then, came the usual malice.
Scary it was.
And somehow, even at the ending, although the song was in major pitch and no double voice or alterations have been added, it was still creepy and malicious. It created a sense of Judas' kiss, meaning that while the act itself was a beautiful act, the inner sense was dark enough to creep our intestines. If there is one thing that music should do, it is to do that. Even through the electronic amplifiers, music should always deliver the feelings.
Rebellion was an amazing exemplification of this job of music. It did its job when it needed to, creeping our guts out after cleansing our soul with "cute" music, then presenting the "Judas' kiss".
Sound--a job well done.
No one expected this.
No one could have expected this.
No one could have seen this coming.
Yet this was inevitable.
Urobuchi always does this. He reveals a down-to-Earth fact that has been in front of our face the whole time yet at the same time a fact that no one has realized.
The development of our main character, Akemi Homura, is wonderfully presented with this motif.
Her "transfiguration" was something no one have realized, yet something so obvious and inevitable that everybody should have known.
I will not go onto further details.
As for minor characters, such as Mami, Sayaka, Kyouko and our all-time hated con artist, MOTHER****ING KYUBEY, they have done their job spectacularly. Every bit of stories they shared and every bit of clues they presented showed and developed the story rapidly. In a way, they "created" the main character. It is always difficult to involve all of the characters and giving all of them important roles. Failure to do so may not be the doom of the anime, but a horrible trial of doing so means the end of the anime and doom of its production. However, Rebellion Story, while providing every character a role, also succeeded in not awkwardly fitting in their roles into the original plot.
It is indeed a job well done.
Now, before you say anything or go away, let me explain myself.
Indeed, this was an amazing movie, and I don't think any other movie can create a seamless storyline as this one.
However, I didn't enjoy this at all.
In fact, I don't think I can ever see the movie again.
It was too soul-breaking that it felt like my soul was breaking apart.
Indeed its story was good, indeed the art was amazing, indeed the sound did its job, indeed the character development was godly.
But I just couldn't like it.
Still, this was only my opinion. Some people might like it.
In fact, exactly because I liked it, I want people to watch this.
It both critiques the conventional "now everybody's happy" anime endings and the well-known "good guy always is the good guy" logic and crashes it down to Earth.
Because of this, I have to take off the Enjoyment spectrum out of the overall rate.
It indeed is an important aspect of anime, but not in this one. This movie DOESN'T want you to enjoy the show. And that is exactly why this is great.
Great story, art, sound and character.
It is the work of our lifetime.
Don't miss it.
If you are in a region where you can go watch the movie, you are blissed.
GO WATCH IT.
IT'S WORTH EVERY PENNY.
Then, happy anime-ing.
I don't think I've ever given perfect 10's across a rating scale. I don't think the third Madoka Magica movie deserves 10's across the board either, but this is the closest I'll probably ever get.
I dreaded the day that a sequel came to fruition for Madoka Magica. This was a show that ended on a rather ambiguous note but still left a good, everlasting impression in its original run, hinting that there was really no need for a sequel, an explanation, or an "After Story", for that matter. I'm not saying I don't want any more of it, not at all. But seriously, Gen Urobuchi,
there's no way you can write a sequel any better than the original series, especially when your original series was THAT good. So yeah. Like.... just stop.
Okay, I was jumping like a schoolgirl when I heard that there was a new Madoka Magica, but I didn't have much hope for this one either.
But what I believed to be a mediocre attempt to capture the world by storm and ultimately fail, I was proven wrong. I hate being wrong. I can't stand the thought of being wrong. To me, being wrong, is just wrong.
Never been happier to be wrong.
Story: What the original series packed was a story that was armed to the teeth with dark undertones and twists so shocking, Lindsay Lohan could be one month sober from her usual crack fiend habits and the power of the message would still be ultimately missing. So when Madoka Magica was renewed for a sequel film, they ultimately took the exact same impact and made it even better. For those of you who have already seen the original (and you HAVE to see it first), you might be wondering, "how does it get any better?" Remember when Madoka transcended into the heavens and became a holy power? Think of this as God's believer trying to make direct contact.
However, I think the real impact of the film doesn't happen until much, MUCH later. You're watching for an hour and thirty minutes and you probably haven't reached it yet. Ten minutes later, you're probably.... almost there, and I'm specifying what happens near the end. When you hear from other MAL users about how the ending was a serious shock, nobody knew how to take it, "ending of Oreimo", all that stuff, that's all true. But if you still have a vague idea of what they're talking about, then imagine it this way: life gives you a cookie, then kicks you in the third leg just to take it back (if you don't have one, forget the reference!). Only difference is, if life does it, you're rolling on the floor, writhing in pain. The ending to this third movie turns you into Niagara Falls for a while.
The story is just splendid.
Art: Aniplex can screw up just about anything on this list in the eyes of some, but if there's something a pissed-off fanboy or a nine-year-old shounen rage kid cannot base his bad rating on, it's the animation. Looks clean, characters move in a crisp and fluid motion, and the Nightmares that appear, while they don't retain the same animation style as the rest of the characters/scenes, it blends in, oddly enough. If they did those sequences wrong, it would pop out very noticeably, especially given the two conflicting animation styles. Fortunately, there's a sense of depth, and instead of that bolstered look where a character looks as if they "happen" to appear in the scene, the character looks like they're actually there (and there is a HUGE difference between the two definitions).
Sound: I'm a fan of ClariS.
.....yeah, moving on.....
Character: I didn't quite understand Homura's actions the first time I watched the movie, but after a good runthrough over the exact section I was skeptical about, I had to use my own judgment and speak for myself, "it's logical, it makes sense." This is the exact same place in the movie where everyone spreads rumors about Gen Urobuchi "ripping out your hearts and sending you into a black oblivion of nothingness and despair and I'm gonna go kill myself and-" you get the idea. You'll just have to watch this part for yourself and make your own decision about Homura's actions (that's a small spoiler, I think, but I know it's not enough to spoil the entire thing).
I don't like forgettable characters. Not the forgettable ones in the sense that we see them once throughout the whole movie and they dick off for the rest of the time to do as they please because we don't need them. I don't like forgettable MAIN characters, and while Sayaka was one of the main cast of the original series (and still is), I feel like she was neglected most of the time, and never really got the spotlight even after Kyouko came in, who ended up stealing it (as far as Character Favorites on MAL tells me). With the amount of screen time Sayaka got in the original series, I was impartial about her death. It never struck me as particularly noteworthy. That changes with the third movie. Her role is more defined, we do get to see more of her, and this "more of her" that we see isn't just a way to give Sayaka fans something to squeal about. This is her own persona, her own contribution, and what I would call redemption from her lack of presence in the first movie. I'm more delighted by the idea that Urobuchi doesn't neglect to use his characters when he needs them.
Enjoyment: If you can classify "enjoyment" as sitting at home and drowning in my own puddle of tears while watching, then yes, I did enjoy it.
Madoka Magica is one of those shows that never initially grabbed my attention, but then again, it doesn't take very much to draw me in at the same time. All it needs? Good storyline, good execution, and I can cope with the rest. But while a select number of shows can do a combination of both and I would still point out a flaw or two, and while some will gradually lose my initial attention, Madoka Magica is, for me, a very, VERY difficult show to dislike or change the rating of, or keep my eyes off for that matter. I wasn't swayed by the hype, I've listened to all the criticism, and at the end of the day, this series still stands as one of the best series I've seen, if not the absolute best. Even with the ending as controversial as it is, there's no way I can bring myself to dislike this series. I thought it wasn't a proper ending, as diehard of a fan as I could be, but I was satisfied having seen it.
And while I have a tendency to associate myself with shoujo and rom-com shows, I'll have to admit eventually that I loved the action sequences just as equally as the idle explanation scenes. You know, those ones where they just sit around and talk to each other? Yeah, I don't know why I like those scenes. Maybe I'm just weird.
Overall: I think everyone who previously didn't know I like watching anime and everyone who does know has heard this from me at least twice within the past two days: WATCH THIS MOVIE. If I keep this up, I probably won't have a social life. Whatever the case, I don't think I've been this hyped over an anime show, nor have I had such a strong desire to watch it again.
Maybe I'm being biased because this is my favorite show, and maybe I'm missing something here and I failed to pick it up, and while this third movie may probably be one of those shows that will still get bogged down on hype alone, there's no reason for any of that. It's brilliant, it's well-thought-out, and it really doesn't need any of its hype to prove its worth.
I'm bitter, I'm sad, and I'm filled with despair. To some this might sound bad, but for those who have experienced this film then you know it is the biggest complement I can give.
The final chapter in the highly acclaimed Madoka trilogy/show has come to a close, and studio Shaft has closed this book right (if not heart wrenching). The story is all tied to Homura after the events of the first two films. We follow her as the story travels down a road most fans never saw coming, but since this is the final chapter there is an end to this road.
A very fitting end. I won't go into detail because of spoiler reasons, but some fans might feel crossed (Homura's actions during the final moments of the film). Thematically speaking this series has always been about the balance of hope and despair. How the influx of these two emotions create the balance of the world. I feel that once you see the film (and are done crying in a puddle of tears), if you think about what the show has been leading up to, then there is no other way this could have ended. Also there is some excellent fan pandering in the film. Several fights, and scenes were crafted for your viewing pleasure and entertainment. Which this being the final film I really appreciated (mainly in the beginning of the movie). Very minor complaints are near the beginning of the film tho. Lets just say it is a little jarring (for a good reason of course), and takes a little while to get going. Once it gets moving however it never stops, which is a good thing given the run time of the film. Overall an excellently crafted narrative, and conclusion to the series. Filled with tid bits, and nods to the fans of the series. What more could you ask for from a final chapter? For me at least, nothing.
I've always been a fan of the style of animation in the Madoka franchise. The artistic nature of the backgrounds, and the world I have always found incredibly appealing. Here is no different. The world is beautifully rendered, and full of little details brimming with color and imagination. The Character designs are top notch as well. Fans will be happy to know there is also new transformation scenes, which look fantastic as well. The fights in this hold a cinematic quality to it that I just don't see in Anime all that often. They were fluid and fast, which added to the spectacle of what was going on. If the Madoka animation hasn't shined you on in the past then I don't think this one will do anything different. For fans on the other hand, they will be happy.
The rule of thumb, besides pure enjoyment, that I use for judging an OST is if it amplifies the tone of the film. All to fitting is what I can say. The music moves with the scenes, and allows the audience to feel connected to it that much more. The voice acting as well is top notch. Saito, Chiwa delivers a fantastic performance as Homura, which is a good thing considering this is her show. Everyone else was great across the board, but her specifically was a stand out.
Everyone is back this time around including some new additions. Of course the spot light is on Homura in this film, and this journey for her has been a rough one. It truly is heart breaking. Now like I said earlier some fans will be split on Homura's actions in the latter half of this film. So it is up to you to decide on how you feel at the end, but for me it was tragic in a good way. I've rarely ever felt more understanding, and sympathetic for a character. This is the fruition of her development, and it is damn good. Concerning the rest of the cast, none of them were really side lined, except for the new addition, Nagisa. Nagisa is the new "magical girl" in the film, and she is underused. Which I am actually fine with considering I came to see the characters I have grown to love, but then I just think back to why she was there to start with (fan service probably). Anyways it was great to see everyone for one last show, and minus the addition of Nagisa, they brought their all.
This film broke my heart in all the right ways, and I will take good story telling over happy any day. Filled with moments that made me want to cheer, and sink into a pit of sadness; this final film was what I needed in my life.
Like all good books one has to reach the last page sometime, and this closing chapter delivers. As a fan I would recommend this to anyone who has enjoyed the original series/films (because they are necessary for this one). If Madoka was never your thing then this won't win you over. Fantastic characters, story, art, and sound, nothing more to really say except one hell of a good film, and I can't wait to watch it again. As always thanks for reading.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion is to its original twelve episodes series as to End of Evangelion was to Neon Genesis Evangelion. Both have an extensive and truly mind-blowing foundation to build upon as well as featuring an absolutely earth-shattering ending that leaves the audience feeling shell-shocked.
Veterans of the Madoka Magica TV series know that something is eerily off within moments of the movie's introduction. Given the fairly conclusive ending in the previous installment, the setting in the movie's beginning, is perfect to a fault. Characters, that should be dead, are back and everyone's is best friends with each other including
Kyubey .The same events are relived in different sequences and circumstances like some a twisted version of Groundhog Day. Even Mami gets a little friendly helper named Charlotte which, disturbingly enough, is the same witch that chomped off her head the first time around.
For the first forty-five minutes, the audience to treated to a mishmash of fanfiction and fanservice as the Holy Quintet goes about their business of smoothing the nightmares of their citizens and doing regular slice-of-life things. While it was pleasant to see all the main leads carry on with their lives in a typical happy-go-lucky mahou shoujo after suffering so much, I felt that the first act overstayed its welcome by fifteen minutes. By the time Homura begins to figure what is really wrong with this world, I was left tapping my foot and wishing the movie would hurry up and get to the point. Though, once the plot got over the initial hump, it just becomes a roaring rollercoaster ride to the very end.
Every main character, regardless of their status at the end of the TV series, makes a comeback. Starting us off is Homura is my favorite magical girl as she dethrones Sailor Mars of my childhood since she has an amazing power of manipulating time and uses high explosives and bullets to get the job done. Although, she regresses back to the timid and awkward girl in the beginning of the movie, by the time the second and third act hit, she is back into her badassery ways. Since the series is really about Homura and not Madoka, despite what the title suggests, she forms the core of the main narrative and Rebellion is just the continuation of her story, which is taken to the next level under Urobuchi.
Outside of the tremendous amount of development and dialogue given to Homura and Madoka, Sayaka is surprisingly given a good amount of depth and maturity this time around as opposed to her personality leading to some pretty dark implications in the preceding storyline. Where she was sort of unlikeable, Rebellion changes her into an assertive and confident young magical girl that put her on par with the rest of the Holy Quintet. Other members like Kyoto and Mami, while they do have their moments to shine and speak, aren't given that much of role in the plot. That is to be expected since their back stories have reached their conclusion in the original television series.The much-hyped character Charlotte being included into the main cast doesn't detract or add to the overall package. She is a colorful and playful thing of sorts and she does give Mami a witch/person to be paired with as strange as that sounds. Charlotte does suffer same problems as Kyoto and Mami in that they don't have really much to do other than coming along for the ride and use their powers in a supporting role during the climactic battle of the movie.
Studio Shaft is notoriously known for rushing their episodes in order to meet airing deadlines and then redoing entire episodes for the Blu-ray releases. With all the heaps of money that they raked in with disc sales, spin-offs and merchandise, the production team spared no expenses for the entire two-hour long movie. At 2,300 shots, it is double of the typical amount in comparative animated movie and yet, all the visuals remain at a higher quality than the TV series.
If you thought that the witches and their labyrinth were trippy with their collage art project style, then be prepared to be utterly overwhelmed to point of questioning whether or not someone slipped LSD into your drink. At more than a few points, I was struggling to find traditional animation in the sea of psychotic art cutouts. Still, the creativity required to produced such things is nothing to scoff at. In fact, Rebellion has my favorite magical girl fight scene of all time and personal highlight of the movie which pits Mami and Homura against each other in a frantic gun battle. This fight is a display of Studio Shaft's ability as these two unveil their full abilities in the torrents of bullets that they unleash at each other in a spiraling dance to the death which is unmatched in any other magical girl show.
Returning back once more to score the soundtrack is Yuki Kajiura, having down work on high-profile shows like Sword Art Online, Kara no Kyoukai, Fate/Zero and previous installments of Madoka Magica. While the quality of her music is still set to a high standard, I felt that her primary weakness is the lack of variety by reusing the same style of dance beats, strings and vocals. I could have literally interchange her music with her other projects and at one point, I thought I was watching another Kara no Kyoukai film. However, there were a couple of highlights and one of them, titled "Absolute Configuration" is perfect for the Homura/Mami fight scene.
Also coming back to sing the opening credits is ClariS, which give a very good performance that complement their pervious Madoka effort. At this point, the viewers know that cute opening is one trick pony that is not representative of the show but does have nice some fanservice and important insights for the interceding time gap between the television series and this batshit crazy movie. Closing theme is sung by Kalafina, Yuji Kajiura's own band and while it sounded nice, it didn't have that punch nor despair of "Magia". Overall, the sound department was handled fairly well , even if it retreaded old ground and missed some opportunities to take Rebellion to the next level.
Betrayal and Rebellion
After consuming vast amounts of literature, shows and movies over the course of my lifetime, I have come to a point where I don't really care what happens to the characters or plot as long as it's reasonably justified. What I mean is that I don't particularly ship couples or have an narrow expectation of where the story should goes. In the case of Homura's being the Devil to Madoka's role as God, I thought it was the perfect twist to a franchise famously known for its subversion and deconstruction of the magical girl genre. Love is often a central theme in this genre, where the power of friendship and justice overcome all evils and saves the day. In Rebellion, it is love that is taken too far and of a selfish nature that is the perfect instrument to stab the audience in the back in a delightfully manner.
It was reported that Gen Urobuchi originally writing a script that had an ending of Madoka carrying Homura into paradise after the Incubator 's trap was broken but Akiyuki Shinbo managed to convince him rewrite the conclusion into what it is today. First, this is an ending is entirely in line with Homura's hardening mindset over the course of the television series and movie. Remember, according to comments made by the Madoka's creative team, Homura had gone through the month-long time loop over one hundred times which is equivalent of reliving the same despair and death for five years nonstop. As an audience, we have only experienced glimpses of her past and the final iteration of her soul-crushing quest to save Madoka. Any teenager that has gone through the amount of shit that Homura has, is probably dead set on getting her own selfish way, even at the expense of the wishes of her waifu Madoka. Secondly, some viewers and pundits have decry the final third act to be an example of SHAFT milking the franchise and leaving it ripe for another season of Madoka Magica. To that, I say "who cares?". As long as the quality is there, having more anime to salivate over is never a bad thing.
Although Rebellion is infinitely more comprehensible and easier to understand than Hideaki Anno's definitive take on Evangelion, Homura's descend into becoming the devil is no less digestible than the third impact. If you have watched Madoka Magica in its television form, you would be doing yourself a great disservice not giving the Rebellion movie a watch, regardless of how might the ending rips into your soul.
There's no escaping the fact that the Madoka Magica franchise is explosive. And with it comes the pressure on the creators to push out more content for the fans. After two films that covered the original series with many improvements and new footage, the first truly new piece of Madoka Magica canon has arrived in the 3rd film, titled "Rebellion".
Before I review the film, I will mention that Rebellion is not intended to be viewed without prior knowledge of the original series - it is required viewing to understand the plot, as nearly the entire story and its characters are reflections and references to the
With that out of the way, I'm sure most people reading this are quite familiar with Madoka Magica, a magical girl anime that turned the genre on its head with a macabre and unexpected dark side. It won a lot of fans over, and it's understandable why. It also wrapped itself up rather nicely, which compiles onto the caution that must be taken when attempting to continue a story that set high expectations and standards.
And that leads me to the story of Rebellion (5/10). At the ending of Rebellion, I had this deep feeling in my gut that the creators of this film were pressured to make sure that post-Rebellion there would be potential to add even more to the Madoka Magica timeline in order to milk more out of the franchise - because the premise of this film started out rather promising, and ended somewhat weak and half-baked, drawing reference from the original series ending, but coming off as an uninspired far cry from its predecessor. And indeed, Urobuchi's original ending for this film was scrapped for something less neatly wrapped. For the sake of not revealing major spoilers, I will say only these few things: that the story focuses mainly on Homura, and the setting deliberately fools the audience for a good portion of the film in order to tell this story.
To compound on this, the pacing of the plot is very stunted, and there is a tiring amount of exposition as the story goes on in order to explain the layers of events that are occurring. It is easy to get lost somewhere along the way, so it is important to pay careful attention to all of it. It doesn't help that a lot of this dialogue is going on during extremely visually focused segments of the film - which, while beautiful, are excessive, drawn-out, and can be distracting from the story.
At the end, I feel that the character of Homura has been cheapened. It is a bitter pill to swallow for one of Madoka's most beloved characters, and her actions at the end become almost meaningless that one has to wonder if the sacrifice that was made to her integrity in order to allow room for more sequels was worth it when you have to betray, and in some cases deeply upset your fans in order to achieve this.
I will acknowledge that many feel this way because they are deeply connected to her character and her story. However, while I did enjoy Madoka Magica and consider myself a fan, I approached this film with no expectations, and I judge the story solely from its merits as a sequel. And, at the end, I found the story to be overly convoluted, poorly paced and thrown together with more importance given to hitting a 'reset' button for more franchise profit potential, rather than telling a new and complete story to compliment the original. It's not so much that it was a bad story, but rather one that had a lot of potential and fell on its face at the end - which is almost more disappointing than a bad one.
Though the story was lacking, there is one thing Shaft nailed and that is the art and animation (9/10). Much like in the original series, the world of Madoka Magica is quite surreal - the characters live in an almost dream-like utopia, sprinkled with glass-laden spires and towers, beautiful gardens and pristine city blocks. Then there is the creepy, nightmarish worlds of the witches, with cut-out art nouveau parades, beautifully textured dreamscapes and stop-motion animation combined with the unique 2D style of the show - there really isn't anything quite like it in the world of anime. And while it is not always perfect, it stands out as an example of successful mixed format animation.
Because of the setting of Rebellion, the animators go wild for a large portion of the film. So much so that I would say that it is sometimes too much of a good thing, but still always a treat to watch more of it. My only real complaint is that at times the 2D animation of the characters felt phoned in or boiled a bit, but I will chalk that up to the fact that many anime films operate on a very tight budget with very strict deadlines. Though during the action and important moments of the film, the animation team put in the effort where it counted.
The sound (9/10) adds a lot more to the atmosphere of Rebellion. The music treads familiar and welcome territory and compliments every moment of animation. The sound effects and voice work was also very well done, with special attention being taken to their surroundings.
As far as characters (4/10) go, I had three major issues with this that go in tandem with Rebellion's story. Before I go into those though, I will say that Kyoko and Sayaka fans will appreciate their larger role in this story, and their friendship is a positive and fun element to this otherwise grim movie. But we don't get to see how they became so close, it is more or less implied.
The first major character issue is the addition of Nagisa Momoe/Bebe. I consider this a minor spoiler, so if you do not want to read any more about this then please skip this paragraph. Moving on, Bebe was teased to audiences for months as being in this film, and indeed, she does appear in her pre-witch form for brief moments in the movie. Consider it an alternate universe where, instead of Bebe biting Mami's head off, Mami befriends her and becomes part of her team of taking down Nightmares. And I will admit, she is adorable, albeit annoying at times. The problem? There is almost no point to her being in the film. She serves absolutely no purpose beyond attracting curious fans to wonder why she is there, and when she is, she has nothing significant to add to the plot. The one time she could add anything significant to the plot, it is mentioned that she can explain something, and then is never mentioned again. She felt like a shoe-in and I honestly do not think the film would have suffered at all without her.
The second is Homura. Homura's character is completely altered by the end of this film. I understand her torment and the negative effects that seeing the same events occur over and over may have had on her, but I found her actions at the end of the story to be foolish and confusing. And when all is said and done, her decisions are trivial at best and amount to almost nothing. I feel like I do not know who she is anymore, and, more importantly, that perhaps the writers don't, either. And I find this rather troubling for a once strong character who has been diminished to something more of a reckless psychopath. Perhaps she will be "redeemed" when the time comes, but for a self-contained story, the path that they have decided to take with Homura is nothing short of disappointing.
The last is, well, the entire cast. I already went over this briefly but I'll mention it one more time. The universe in which the story of Rebellion takes place is, for lack of a better word, fake. The events take place entirely in a bubble, almost quite literally, and feel inconsequential. It's almost one of those "everything was a dream" endings, and it compounds on the slight sense of unfamiliarity that you get from how the cast behaves in Rebellion - and then it all gets tossed out in the end. It's misleading, and leaves a hollow feeling that the original series didn't. I don't mean to say that all stories should have happy endings, but Rebellion's tragic ending feels cheap, forced and uninspired - and at the deep cost of a loss of characterization.
In the end, the movie still comes out being slightly better than average (6/10 enjoyment, 6/10 overall). Rebellion has a lot of powerful material to work with, and its premise starts out strong. But it tries so hard to be even darker and more macabre than its predecessor, while still attempting to make way for even more sequels, and because of this it falls desperately short of its potential.
Though I still hope for the best for the future of the Madoka Magica franchise. This film, for better or worse, is sort of a "reset button" for the series, and for all I know the next season or movie could be multitudes better than Rebellion could have been. But, for now, Rebellion leaves Madoka Magica on a confusing and sour note, one that would be a real shame to leave on.
This movie was disappointing. While visually and artistically stunning, I found it to be extremely lacking in the story and character department. The first two thirds of the film to me were nothing more but Shaft just masturbating in front of me for an hour with their colossal budget and overly-indulgent animation. Magical girl transformation sequence that lasted too long, overly long fight sequences with the Nightmares, with the only thing they accomplished was to vomit a barrage of non-stop god-like animation, while relatively little progression in the character development and story department occurred.
I don't want to go into any spoilers, but suffice to say,
the first hour of this just feels like a massive pandering and giant piece of fan service for fans of the original show. You get to see the fight between Hamura and Mami that we never got the chance to in the original show. Familiar characters such Kyosuke and Hitomi turn up for the sake of cramming more of the original cast into the story and reminding us why we hate them so much. The only new character that's introduced is Bebe, and besides explaining a bit of the plot to one character, she has about as much relevance to the overall story to what Nami from the Rebuild films does. Both of them are equal amounts of fan service and overall uselessness. There was relatively little of interest for me going on during this time and I found the only thing engaging me was the unbelievable production value of the show. After the first hour of the movie finished, I felt like this would've been better off as 30 minute OVA dedicated as a side story to Homura's character rather than a movie.
And then the final act happened. From here on the review will be straying into spoiler territory, so if you haven't watched the movie before doing so, I highly advise that you do before reading on. To say that Homura's 180 degree turn as a character was a massive ass pull would be an understatement. One of the film's most glaring problems is that it breaks the most cardinal rule of visual story telling mediums-show, don't tell. When it occasionally decides to visually stop jerking off in front of my face for about five minutes and remembers that it has a story and characters, the characters basically announce how they feel and describe why they're doing what they're doing. This is especially egregious during the conversation between Homura and Madoka when they're on the flower field. Homura breaks down in front of Madoka and blurts out her feelings to her as if she was reading her own character page from a wiki. This moment had little to no build up or foreshadowing to really have an effect for me emotionally, mostly because Madoka has been pretty much a non character within the story at that point, and the plot had been focusing more on Homura's confrontations with the other characters.
And it's because Madoka and Homura's relationship felt so ineffective to me was the reason why I had nothing but indifference to convey to Homura suddenly turning into magical satan because she was completely overcome with her lesbo juices when Godoka showed up. If her motivations had alway been selfish and she yearned to be with Madoka regardless of the consequences, then why didn't she just stay in the labyrinth once she found out that the Madoka with her at the time wasn't an illusion but the real deal once Kyubey told her? Her sudden plunge into the dark side felt extremely half-assed and forced, and felt like it was there to introduce a superficial shock factor that was needed to justify for what up to that point was an extremely point-less movie.
Many have said that you need to watch this film multiple times to grasp the "deep" themes and meaning of the film to truly appreciate it, but I can confidently say that you'll pretty much get the entire gist of the thing on your first viewing, since 75% of it is a superficial, two-dimensional barrage of fan service and Shaft reminding us how loaded they are, and the final 25% of it is just the writers undoing the ending of the original show so that the film can appear "edgy" and "controversial", with Biblical allusions to Madoka as God and Homura as Satan, but it's really all a pretentious disguise and mechanisation for them to dish out more sequels and milk this dead cow of a franchise even further, because no way was the ending I just watched a satisfying conclusion that ties any untied threads the movie had introduced to the universe at this point. While I do recommend watching the movie just to see how it completely falls the fuck apart towards the end, the only reason I can see myself coming back to this is for the stunning animation, and even that struggled to keep me engaged during my first viewing of the film, considering how bloated and dragged out a lot of the sequences in the beginning were.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Hangyaku no Monogatari - Full Review
If you have watched the original Madoka series from 2012 (which you should’ve), you would already know how good the series is, even well-known as the anime that changed the way people view the “Mahou Shoujo”, or Magical Girl Genre; filled with plot twists, good character developments and fantastic story writing. So, it seems that the Madoka series has set a pretty high bar for itself, hasn’t it? Does the movie manage to reach the same standard that it has set for itself, or does it fall short? Let’s get on with the review, shall we?
& Characters (10/10)
Note: The purpose of putting both the story and character sections together is because all the characters play an important role in the story. You could even say the story is the characters. The story would be nothing without its cast of characters.
The movie’s story pattern is written just like the original series. It starts out slow and happy, making you think that Madoka is a relaxing and adorable series, before hitting you with plot twists after plot twists that just make you feel like going “what the hell just happened”? However, the beauty of this series is because the writers are amazing. Even with the number of plot twists, the story still makes perfect sense, though it does take some time to understand it.
What the movie does especially well was the portrayal of the Magical Girls in the beginning. Basically showing how well they worked together of they had the chance to do so in the original series. Their teamwork was amazing, and it felt so smooth and beautiful. Of course, there’s a purpose for all of these – it basically sets the viewers thinking, “How I wish they could stay like this forever”, which shows how tough Homura’s decision is later on.
The characters maintain their original personality from the original series. If you liked them back in the original, you would definitely love them even more here. Each and every one of them has an important role in the story, pushing the story forward. One small gripe I had was with the character Nagisa Momoe (Charlotte). While she’s super adorable, I do not like the fact how Shaft marketed her so much as “the new magical girl” and made it sound like the story is centered around her when in actual fact she didn't even have much screentime and speaking roles. It felt as if she was mainly there for marketing purposes, so that Shaft can say that they have a new and cute magical girl so you have to watch it. That being said, she still had a role in the story, and she fulfilled that role well.
If you haven’t already realized, this entire movie is centered on Homura and her struggles without Madoka. The story was done especially well. In the beginning, the writers showed how happy Homura is with Madoka and halfway through, all of her struggles, her agony and pain without Madoka. You could really relate to Homura and understand her feelings. Everyone has probably been separated from someone they liked or loved before, and it is not easy to deal with the sadness. This is exactly what Homura is feeling right now.
Once again, they had ClariS do the opening theme, which was catchy and something that you’ll definitely want to listen to again. Kimi no Gin no Niwa, the ending of the movie once again done by Kalafina, is a really amazing song. The music perfectly encapsulates the entire tone of the movie, as well as Homura’s struggles.
The voice actors once again reprise their roles as the Magical Girls. These voice actors are rather famous ones, and you can see why from their voice acting. If you liked them in the original series, you’ll definitely like their voices here. Special shoutout to Saito Chiwa, the voice actor for Homura. She did such an amazing job, managing to portray Homura’s sadness, shyness and seriousness all exceptionally well that it would resonate within you.
The art was, to be described in one word, “beautiful”. Every scene was done beautifully, and you could see just how much Shaft had in their budget in the action scenes, with so much attention to detail that would simply make your jaw drop.
It was just awesome to be able to see the magical girls that I loved so much again, and of course the plot twist after plot twist just constantly kept me hooked onto the movie. Even after the movie ended, I was still constantly thinking about it, making sure that I truly understood what went on in the movie, such as Homura’s actions and the plot twists that unfolded.
The Madoka Magica Movie 3 – Rebellion lives up to its hype 100 percent, even possibly surpassing its hype. Filled with plot twists after plot twists that constantly keep you on the edge of your seat and beautiful art and fantastic voice acting and music, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has watched the original series. For those who have not watched the original series, do yourself a favour and watch it, so that you too can enjoy this masterpiece of a movie that is Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – Hangyaku no Monogatari.
Obviously, it does help if you've already seen either the previous two recap films or the anime itself in order to understand this story, so if you already haven't, make sure you go and give it a look, it is certainly worth your time.
I'll keep it as short as possible in my descriptions, giving you more time to get started on the film!
An excellent piece of storytelling, filled with all the twists and turns you could ever wish for. This movie is like if The Matrix and Inception had an anime child. Yes, it's hard to get your head around it at first, and
sometimes you just have to pretend you know what's happening when you really don't, but when you find your feet again after being swept off them by this wonderful story, you can finally realise what a masterpiece this story was.
It's the same as always, full of backgrounds and foregrounds that should never be able to fit together, but somehow, this movie pulled it off, just as the anime did. I would even say that the graphic quality probably slightly improved since the anime finished.
Normally I would harp on about the opening and closing theme songs, and even though the ones in this film are brilliant, I found myself transfixed by the soundtrack during the film's scenes. At all points throughout this film, the sound perfectly complimented the action (or lack of) on screen like a perfectly seasoned dinner. Many moments existed where all sound was muted to heighten tension, this was executed superbly.
Exactly the same as they were in the show. Outstanding.
Homura's still reserved when serious and kick-ass in battle.
Madoka's as cute as ever.
Mami's still as sweet as the tea she drinks. (P.S. She is the cheese)
Kyoko's remains her mischievous self.
Sayaka is still a little too brash, yet still a vital part of the cast.
Don;t even get me started on Kyubey. Essentially, he's still a brat.
I don't think I moved a muscle while watching this movie. Normally I'd grab a bite to eat, but food would have ruined this spectacle. This film was so spellbinding that world may well have ended, and I wouldn't have even realised, THAT is how entertaining this film is. A true masterpiece.
Obviously if you've read all of this (thank you!) you would have seen all the praise I have given this film. But there is one thing I wish to address: the ending. Don't worry, this will not contain any spoilers.
Essentially, something happens that contradicts pretty much all that we thought we knew about a certain character and their morals, but whether they were well-intended or not is up in the air and completely up to YOU and YOU ALONE to decipher.
I went into this anime after reading fellow reviews on MyAnimeList, and much like myself, praise was heaped on the story, art, sound and characters. BUT, many rated their overall enjoyment while watching this film very poorly. I was informed that this was a "bad" or "evil" ending, and that I would never be able to watch this film again due to it's soul-crushing capacity.
To tell the truth, I was scared. I was truly scared to sit down to watch this film after reading such reviews, all because I had followed THEIR interpretation of the ending, and not seen for myself first.
Put simply, I implore you to ignore all reviews on whether this was a good or bad ending, as I personally found it very sweet and uplifting, while others hated it. So don't let yourself be swayed from this excellent film by an opinion that you can create yourself.
It’s just another ordinary day in school; Madoka and her classmates sit in wonder and disbelief as they struggle to make sense of Saotome-sensei’s daily ramblings. On this particular day, she seems to be sermonizing about Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ. “Ridiculous”, they must think, but little do they know that the end may well be nigh.
In a surreal land of childlike sketches and jovial colours, the viewers are greeted by ballet dancers skipping to melodious violin, a stitched-together gothic puppet with its tongue sticking out of its wide inane grin, and a rainbow gate with the words “Welcome to Cinema” carved onto
it. Cue a battle royale of the puppet against a graceful quintet of mahou shoujos in a theatrical fairytale environment, and we are completely cast into the magical universe of Kaname Madoka and co. The world they live in is seemingly a utopia: Madoka and her previously deceased friends are alive; they are under no perceptible threat, and Homura is not weighed down by unbearable burdens. For the first time, Madoka, Homura, Sayaka, Kyouko, and Mimi are able to battle alongside each other in a proper mahou shoujo setting, complete with flamboyant transformation sequences and extravagant spells. It does not take long, however, until Homura begins to question the legitimacy of the unrealistically ideal world they live in. As she unravels the truth of the world and herself, she is flooded by a multitude of conflicting feelings and eventually rebels against the very laws of the universe.
Rebellion is the third installment in the Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica movies trilogy, and acts as a sequel for the famed TV series. Once again, Urobuchi Gen delivers his controversial signature writing in a brand new chapter of the story we all thought had ended. The question most of us will ask when venturing into this movie is undoubtedly this: is Rebellion a necessary and worthy addition to the Madoka franchise?
Perhaps most striking about Rebellion at first glance is its diverse usage of visuals: the movie effortlessly and erratically switches between vastly distinct background art styles. Sometimes, the art is characterized by the minimal and geometric design typical of Akiyuki Shinbou’s directorial works. Other times, the art takes a drastic turn for the abstract, and blends various techniques into a hectic and expressionistic concoction. Complemented by Yuki Kajiura’s uniquely atmospheric soundtrack, and the viewers find themselves as immersed into this world of unearthly beauty as they are alienated from the foreign animation approach. Appropriate to its themes, the contrast between the different styles is immense yet increasingly blurred. At one point, a backdrop of an impressionistic painting is integrated with a three dimensional structure, and a cg-animated bus rolls in the middle of this alien landscape. The mixing and distortion of the different styles of art certainly reflects the overall ambiguity of the movie.
Moreover, Rebellion’s narrative makes far heavier use of symbolic imagery than its predecessor. As both the physical and metaphysical realms may be depicted in abstract techniques with little regard to physical laws, the distortion of the world becomes almost completely uninhibited. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Rebellion truly embodies this adage as the visuals append an unwritten layer of meaning to the narrative. The frequently indeterminate boundary between reality and imagery often becomes overwhelming and occasionally heavy-handed. When Homura realizes the hellish reality of the ostensibly utopian world she is trapped in, the city becomes depicted as a raging inferno in which gothic figures smirk at her misfortune, and the shadow casted by her despairing outline spawns blood red nerine flowers.
The star of the movie, Homura, undergoes tremendous development and metamorphosis throughout the course of the movie. In contrast, the remaining cast is largely neglected, and even the eponymous hero Madoka is reduced from a main character to more of a conceptual presence. Neither does the introduction of a new mahou shoujo, Momoe, hold any major significance to the entirety of the movie. Rather than letting each character take part naturally in the flow of the story, they are each designated a specific role and given the spotlight for a moment before the attention shifts. Nevertheless, the contrived use and presentation of the side characters is not a severe impairment to the movie, as the focus on Homura allows the audience to witness in torturous detail the breaking of a girl who lost her most loved one.
Homura’s character is neither linear nor predictable. Amidst the various phases of turmoil she goes through, Rebellion challenges and blurs the dichotomy of heaven and hell, selflessness and selfishness, love and lust, and most importantly good and evil. Throughout the first section of the movie, she searches for truth in order to break away from the imaginary world she is trapped in, even though it contained all she’s ever dreamed of. Yet, by the end of the movie, she betrays this very principle in a bewildering turn of personality, which easily gives an impression of poorly planned characterization. The problem with that conception is that it does not take into consideration the entirety of Homura’s development. Her stages of introspection, self-discovery, self-denial, and catharsis are shown not only in dialogue and body language, but also extensively depicted through symbolic imagery. Her figurative execution of self; her worship of Madoka as Christ; the rain of black droplets taking on the shape of her figure, crushing their white counterparts which struggle to subsist; all of these illustrate the extent of the mayhem erupting within her inner life. The abundant reliance on imagery in depiction of Homura’s character is puzzling and often ostentatious, but it provides pivotal insight into her emotions absent from dialogue and is essential in justifying her final act of rebellion.
By the end of the story, the viewers are faced with a loaded question: has Homura converted to evil? The concept of immorality is challenged, as she straddles the line of complete selflessness and selfishness. She betrays the hope of her friends; she forsakes the will of Madoka; she abandons her own principles. All this for an emotion “more passionate than hope, far deeper than despair”, she declares in an ungodly smirk and deviously affectionate voice, “Love”. Rebellion is a conclusion which raises questions rather than providing closure.
Urobuchi Gen is famous for his grim storytelling overflowing with despair. Yet, underneath all of those tales, there is a fundamental philosophy; an engulfing hope which shows Gen’s utter love for humanity. Every one of his stories may not end on a happy note, but none are devoid of his veritably humanistic morality. That is, until he wrote Rebellion. Unless it is but a segment in a story which is yet to be concluded, it can only be seen as the complete breakdown of a girl overpowered by her conflicting feelings. It is not a necessary addition to the Madoka franchise, as it robs the comfort of closure from its viewers. Nonetheless, it is an excellent addition: a true audiovisual journey which makes superb but arguably excessive usage of the medium it is delivered in. Anyone venturing into Rebellion should expect nothing short of a feast in overwhelming magnitudes. They shall dine on an appetizer of rapture, a main course of despair, and a dessert of irony.
You either love or hate Madoka, that's my conclusion after discussing this series with friends and acquaintances that have watched it too. I believe it wasn't an anime that was meant for the "magical girl" genre fanatic, but for the anime fans who love crazy visuals and stories with dark twists.
If you want to watch this movie i believe you must be the latter... but i must warn you, this story takes those two thing and drive it to and extreme, so if you don't like this kind of things you are probably going to hate the movie.
Art and animation are a big
fat 10, or even an 11. I must admit visuals are the most important thing here, but that doesn't make the rest of the content suck.
Story-wise i don't want to spoil it because it's all about the unexpected twists, but also that's what makes it so good. Just be prepared.
I wasn't prepared for the ending, and i must say i didn't like it, and had a very bitter taste on my mouth for a whole week... but i appreciate that it caught me off guard, and i love that. There are so few things nowadays that one can say "i didnt see that coming", and this movie is one of them. Would i prefer if it were different? probably... Do i think it ruins the whole movie? No, it doesn't.
So be prepared, this movie is a bumpy ride and you are either gonna love it or hate it.
…his hours of slumber were animated by extremely lively and varied dreams, which he could ponder on awaking…
- The Magic Mountain, Thomas Mann
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
- A Dream within a Dream, Edgar Allen Poe
You know, Goethe once described Shakespeare (to Eckermann) as a wildly overgrown tree that — for two
hundred years straight — had stifled the growth of all English literature; thirty years later, Börne called Goethe: 'A monstrous cancer spreading through the body of German literature.'
- The Letter Killers Club, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
He is the Magician of Germany. They know all his dreams there. “Schoolboys learn his love affairs as well as Jove” (so claimed Mann). We talk of Goethe, the scientist, occultist, poet and writer extraordinaire. Every language has its saint: Shakespeare for English, Pushkin for Russian, Dante for Italian… most are poets who have played with the language to the extent that they have revived it and enriched it with new flavor. These are the men who impress upon the vocabulary new words, new ways of thinking and new ways of speech.
The German culture itself is one entrenched in high magic. They have the tales of Grimm, the beliefs of Walpurgisnacht and the legends of the Black Forest. Who else but Germany’s highest poet would pay greatest homage to this tradition of magic in his major work Faust? Neither Macbeth nor A Midsummer’s Night Dream can compare with the host of spirits, devils, witches and other phenomena that enter into the story, that hang from the cloisters and chant and sing; it is the most magical of all plays… and so we cross our hearts endlessly and pray to the Literary Saints that Akiyuki Shinbo and company will be interested enough to actually adapt the whole two parts of Faust into animation.
If the swift moment I entreat:
Tarry a while! You are so fair!
Then forge the shackles to my feet,
Then I will gladly perish there!
So makes Faust the deal with Mephistopheles: that if he ever has a moment where he wishes to linger for a second more he has found his fulfillment and his soul will be dragged into the inferno. It takes him several decades before this moment is actually reached; if I were in his shoes I would have fallen in an instance. “More Magic! More Lights! More Spectacle!” I would have cried to Mephistopheles to convince Shaft to throw in just a few more frames into the whole 3rd movie merely for the sake of being able to gaze more at that ephemeral symphony. The general consensus of Hollywood movies is that Greater Budget = More Shareholders = More Executive Interference = Shittier Art (e.g. Blockbuster Movies. David Foster Wallace did a comparison to the downfall of the great neo-noir cyberpunk work Terminator 1 to the special effects bombardment that was T2); sometimes Capitalism works in our favor and pushes the artist to the peak.
The narrative itself has already been talked endlessly and quite frankly some people have brought up more interesting views than anything I could muster, on how the Last movie realigns the whole metaphysics of the work from a Christian view to a more Buddhist/Taoist perspective. How the Monism of the world is transformed into a Dualism and, each side being equally ambiguous, turns into a sort of Yin and Yang order rather than a straightforward good versus evil. In other words it is NOT the Paradise Lost of Anime which is whole and whole clearly a Christian viewpoint. But all these things can be Google searched and anyway it isn’t the point.
It is impossible, in fact, to really touch upon the whole work simply because it is a ‘Saint’s’ Work, the type of work whose formal properties, though a combination of old styles, the end effect is so Sui Generis that it brings new light to the possibilities of the medium. Who knew that Russian and Czechslovakian stop-motion techniques would blend so well with Japanese Traditional Style Drawn animation? Likewise, with the End of Evangelion, who knew that Artaud’s philosophy of the Theater of Cruelty could manifest itself in the realm of animation? These are works that, once it appears, have such a considerable impact on the image-consciousness of the people that their whole entire visual framework is transformed; they can see new ways of drawing and doing things, new ways of saying, new ways of art. Sadly Studio Shaft is no Poet Saint with the written word but the narrative suits the art well enough to not be jarring on the screen.
If I were to comment on my definitive favorite moment then it would be the Bus Scene. A mostly silent moment entrenched in the pureness of the art. If I were to narrow it more and comment on my definitive favorite frame in the work it would be that moment when the phantom bus stops in the middle of a vast redness of Expressionist sky, with faint turbines in the distance and a host of birds crisscrossing the view. Such pure art symphonies are as transient as they came; the image lingers for a brief moment then vanishes. We wish for greatness and ambition. We want our 10+ hour long fully adapted animated Der Ring Des Nibelungen with original Orchestra and completely original avant-garde beautiful aesthetically magnificent art. This is the type of work that makes us so excited for the medium that we would not want less.
Since this film has now become exclusively my most favorite animated work of art I feel that my old review of it doesn't cover enough ground to encapsulate all I feel about the work. If I had the time I would even be willing to do a thorough frame by frame analysis of the entire work, which shots work, which shots are particularly weak, how certain scenes cohesively tie together and relate to other scenes. Since I can't do that I'll only be going through a few pointers that I need to talk about.
In the end I can say though that the plot, narrative story elements, and characters are not priority to the work itself. What is important is the shadow behind the story and the artistic and expressionistic composition of the whole cinematic experience. Madoka 3 is firmly and truly the work of dreams. It is condensed, purified dream material and is a testament to the ability of animation to depict our dreams. It works better than the vast amount of 'oneirists' out there from David Lynch to Nicholas Winding Refn to Linklater's Waking Life. Mere coming into contact with the work has opened up my visual library to the extent that I now extensively 'free-dream' with such vivacity and color that dreaming itself has become intertwined with, and has become an extension of, my waking reality. What Madoka 3 really shows is that every imaginative tangent is possible. The movie shifts from beauteous normal city-scapes to gothic cathedrals and architecture to scrapbooks strings of stop-motion puppetry and carnival to magic dusty fairy-tale roads. The story of Madoka 3 is the story of an imagination rather than an actual story in itself.
What then does this imagination consist of? At its core it is influenced by the fairy-tale princess idealist world of magical girls mixed with the true gothic dark reality of medieval witchcraft as devilish in the Faustian sense. The key antimonies are derived from there, ballet and patchwork dolls, candy and pentagrams; a girlish tea party is disrupted by a descent into a gigantic graveyard and cathedral ruin. Besides this the imagination of Madoka 3 is also fighting against the Japanese over-urban reality. Much of Shinbo's other work has an over-proliferation of modern urban symbols - lamp-posts, classrooms, cars, construction, wires, mixed with ultra-minimalist clean white functionalist buildings. The key scene of the whole movie, the bus scene, is an argument between a city and a desert. The outskirts of Mitakihara city has a bus-station, a strange metallic construction, modern air-turbines, and a long empty road with floating wispy street-lights amidst a startling emptiness. There's a sense of urban decay and alienation behind many of his works (Though not over-extended to the sense of Anno's great spaces) . When the whole movie goes straight into hell the entire city is engulfed in a strange carnival of fire and disfigurement. It seems as though the movie is fighting a grand urban horror-vacui by jumping back into a world of over-ornamentation and romantic fairy-tale ideal. This makes the work extremely post-modern and opens up vast dimensions to engage with it.
A timeline of the images and symbols can be created in order to understand the visual-story behind the told narrative
Ballet - Cake House - Everyday School Life - Patchwork - Cake Song - Flower Garden - Degraded Reality (blurry faces and otherworldly elements) - Bus Ride - Desert - Lonely Road - Industrial Bridge - Tea Party - Dark City - Gothic Cathedral (the fight scene) - Mechanized Alleyway (talking to Sayaka) - 'Tunnel of Love' Boat - Dark Flower Garden - Hellscape City - Dark Princess Chamber - Mental Degradation (Witch turning scene) - Executioner's Guillotine - Fantasy Battle - Romantic Gaudy Art Nouveau Victory - Desert and Ruins - Stairway to Heaven - Fragmentation and Emptiness - Degraded Reality - Poison River (Green and Purple) - School After Hours - Dark Garden (after credits)
The images can be arranged in 3 general spheres: Urban, Medieval Gothic, and Romantic. And even within the images certain oppositions exist though one always seems to gain prominence. The opening ballet scene for example has a prominent romantic vision while also depicting the destruction of buildings through bombs (harkening to the real urban fear of terrorism). Likewise the Dark City is actually a mix of Film Noir, Urban and Medieval Gothic when it transitions to the Cathedral fight scene. The Bus Ride sequence is a mix of Urban and Medieval Gothic. The music played is that of a broken down carnival tune while the bus itself is not a standard urban bus but an 'augmented' carnival bus. The floating lamp-posts also become will-o-wisps.
Another great moment is the Cake Song because its the moment when it becomes extremely ambiguous which ruling principle the movie sides with. The cake song has the appearance of whimsical colorful romantic magical girl action but its also contaminated with various off-putting elements. The pentagram and the dark lyrics are combined with shots of the characters in 'darkened' frames performing mysterious childish hand actions. It really pays homage to the idea of a Faustian spirit-summoning scene and gives the whole moment a 'devilish' edge. It is at that moment when you feel the characters are involved in real Witchcraft.
The visual flow of the film as a whole seem to side with a downfall of the romantic Magical Girl genre with the rise of Urbanity and Darkness. All trace of the flowery world of pink and white is brought down in place of purple and green, the colors of poison. It is this way that the movie becomes more than a trite 'Dark Retelling' but becomes a full-fledged Nightmare. It is not just that the visuals complement the plot but that the visuals create a world of their own and become 'higher' than the plot. Imagine the whole movie with all of the exposition edited out and only glimpsed at; it would still tell a story of its own through the scenes. This ability to have the narrative split itself from the movie without losing much is what makes it a brilliant movie.
The defining factor of animation is its ability to be generous to the dreamer, as I have mentioned in my 5 cm Per Second review. I firmly believe this. There is a story by Kawabata called 'Snow' about a weary businessman who sets aside New Year's Day for a special moment of dreaming. He reserves a hotel room for the whole day and keeps his location a secret from his family. There he lies down on the bed and spends the whole day dreaming of Snowy mountains and magnificent scenery. There is also a moment in the movie Waking Life when a character comes up with a theory that when we fall unconscious before we die we have around 6 minutes of pure brain activity. Within this 6 minutes it becomes possible, due to the warped time of dreams, to live another life again. If you extend that logic then it would be possible to, upon death in a dream, life another entire life in the dream of a dream, and this would occur infinitely.
Spoiler warning! I can't make this review without spoilers. Please don't read the review and blame me for spoilers. You've been warned.
I was pretty excited about seeing this movie at first. I figured that since the series was pretty good, I could trust the makers of the movie to not screw up. But what I did not expect was to see an incredibly boring movie that served only to ruin the great Madoka series.
Art: I think they really improved on this aspect compared to the movie series. I still have some issues with the art style--I think the characters have football heads--but other than that
the style is pretty great. I thought the creepy witch art was needlessly excessive, though. Still, I'll give this an 8, with two points subtracted for the aforementioned reasons.
Sound: I'm not sure how to rate this because I don't really pay attention to background music while watching a movie. But the music was very nice, so I'm going to give this an 8 as well.
Character: This is where everything starts to go downhill. Characters like Kyouko, Sayaka and Bebe didn't even need to be around--especially Bebe. What on earth did she even do in the movie? Absolutely nothing. They could have thought of some other reason to make Mami and Homura fight very easily instead of wasting money on a pointless voice actor. I don't think anyone can deny the fact that she's out of place and useless.
Madoka and Mami were okay, but by far the most important character in this movie is Homura, and they completely destroyed her. She acted way out of character. Why would you become the embodiment of evil and become the foe of the person you love just so you can be together with them? If she really were in love, I think she wouldn't want to fight the person she loves. Also, it's quite selfish and inconsiderate of Madoka's feelings. I really liked her before seeing this movie but now she's easily one of my least favorites. 5 points off for Homura, 3 for Bebe and 1 for Kyouko and Sakura not being around much.
Story: I think the story was interesting up until the part Homura became evil, and I think I explained why Homura becoming evil is out of character and not necessary for the story. But there are a couple other issues with the story that stand out. For example, Homura's quest to find out who is creating a witch's labyrinth is honestly a little boring, and it takes most of the movie. Not much happens. Why didn't they just go with the movie trailer they showed at the end of the TV series? They decided to do something completely different instead.
Also, there are a few unanswered questions. Why did Homura consent, if at all, to Kyubey's experiment? If she didn't consent, then how did they get her? What happened to Kyouko and Mami during this time? What happened after the end of Madoka? What exactly is the Madoka in the witch's labyrinth? And so on. The creators just totally skipped over these questions and we aren't going to get an answer in the future. I'll give this a 2, with 1 point given for the witch's labyrinth thingy being slightly interesting.
Enjoyment: I liked to look at the cute art, but that's pretty much all I enjoyed. As mentioned before, they totally destroyed Homura and the future direction of the Madoka series. I can't possibly enjoy that. I'll give this the same point as the story for the same reason.
Overall: This movie is incredibly overhyped by, in my opinion, rabid fanboys who are just excited to have another Madoka thing to watch. The hype will die down and people will eventually start seeing this movie for what it is. 2/10
Sequels can be a tricky thing to pull off correctly, especially when dealing with a series whose original ending wrapped up everything nice and neatly in a way that was nearly perfect and extremely satisfying. Mahou Shoujo Madoka Movie 3: Rebellion Story seeks to add on to a story that was already intended to be over and done with, and takes the Madoka franchise in a new direction all leading up to a shocking ending that has been the subject of much controversy and debate between fans since the film's initial launch in theaters. Rebellion Story does indeed work well as a sequel, however there
were many flaws that I felt kept the movie from realizing its full potential.
Rebellion Story begins its run time with a glimpse into a world that seems completely foreign to those who have familiarized themselves with the workings of Madoka's world up until this point. All five of our magical girls are alive and well, hanging out and getting along in a peaceful world free of loneliness and despair, as they fight mysterious creatures known as Nightmares who threaten the city of Mitakihara during the night. Previous viewers of the series know that everything that they are seeing is wrong, but we aren't exactly told why at first.
As the movie progresses, Homura becomes conscious of the fact that all is indeed not well, and begins her search to find the answers as to why the world seems so out of place. Presenting these mysteries right off the bat is a great way at piquing the audience's curiosity, and also gives them a way to relate to Homura, as both will be utterly clueless as to what exactly is going on. The anticipation steadily builds as Homura continues to unravel clues and piece together the puzzle to finally get the full picture. When the revelations finally hit, they hit both Homura and the viewers who have been following her the whole time hard. The movie does a fantastic job at using buildup and anticipation throughout its duration to create a climax that is engaging and has loads of impact.
Now, one of my main issues with the story is the fact that the very beginning (roughly the first 20 or so minutes) before Homura realizes something's up doesn't seem to accomplish much of anything. I mean sure it has the very important aspect of creating buildup for the viewer, but I still think that it dragged on for far too long, especially for events that have little to no relevance to the remaining portion of the film. Don't get me wrong, it's still satisfying seeing the slice of life side of things where everybody gets along and has fun together working as a team, but looking back on the beginning....I can't help but feel that it was just a waste of time in the grand scheme of things, when more run time could have been devoted to the actual meat of the story.
And there's one other thing about the story that I just can't bring myself to like, the final 20 minutes of the movie, or the ending. If you've seen the original ending of Madoka Magica and loved it, why did you enjoy it? Maybe it was because the final scenes were full of several emotions that made it such a memorable experience for myself and many other fans. There was the initial shock, the heartfelt moments and sadness, the feeling of having hope even when all seems lost, and above all is the feeling of satisfaction.
Rebellion Story relies on one emotion alone for its ending, and that is shock. It expects the viewer to be dumbfounded at the jarring turn of events, and uses this to mask the actual flaws that plague the entire scenario. It doesn't properly explain why this drastic turn happens, or even the specifics as to how it is even possible. I'm not critiquing the characters during these scenes at all so much as I am the actual writing and execution of them. The final 20 minutes end up feeling like a contrived mess that hardly makes any sense. Most importantly, that feeling of satisfaction is done away with, replaced only with that one emotion of shock. Depending on what you're looking for in an ending, Rebellion Story may leave a bad taste in your mouth when you finish your viewing.
Equally important to the story are the characters, who in my view are handled quite nicely considering how much time they had to work with. The main focus of the whole movie is all on Homura, showcasing her various emotions and reactions as she comes face to face with a harsh reality sleeping behind the veil of a peaceful dream. Naturally Homura is the most well developed character due to the amount of time in the spotlight she gets, but it's important to mention that her character may not go in the direction that people want it to. When all is said and done, you'll probably be questioning whether Homura's actions were justified or not. While you now already know what I had to say about the ending's execution, I am not at all implying that Homura was out of character in any way during that conclusion. In fact, several instances in Rebellion Story pointed towards this turn being a possibility. I completely understood her choices and felt that it was not an entirely far-fetched concept at all.
The other characters just aren't as strong though, because they hardly receive the spotlight. The happy-go-lucky slice of life moments reveal interesting sides to the characters' personalities that you wouldn't normally see due to the usual nature of Madoka's plot, and it really does give you a breath of fresh air before the heavy material kicks in. However, there isn't much room for any true development for the characters because of the way Rebellion Story is set up. You won't be seeing anything groundbreaking, but we get is still pretty decent.
A notable mention though is Sayaka, who you can tell has come a long way from her old self. Her shining moments are worth paying extra attention to, especially since the role she plays in the movie ends up being very important. The weakest of the cast is definitely Nagisa, the newest addition to the magical girl cast. For a cast that excels in being well characterized and full of depth, it's disappointing to say that Nagisa is the exact opposite. She serves mainly as a plot device and there honestly isn't anything much to say about her (also talking about her heavily treads on spoiler territory). She literally appears in about 2 scenes, and that's it. There's nothing going on with her beyond the surface, she's merely a new element that has been added, but has yet to be explored.
Something that sure isn't simple though is the art style and animation of Rebellion Story. Studio SHAFT went all out on this one, and boy does it show in all the right ways. The imagery and art designs used during Rebellion Story are nothing short of breathtaking, as you will be mesmerized by every scene to the point where your eyes will never leave the screen. The symbolism is quite strong here, and there tends to be a little something going on in the background that makes each scene stick out and foreshadows coming events. As a result of this combination, Rebellion Story has its own distinct feel, while not entirely straying away from that familiar Madoka Magica imagery that we are so used to experiencing. The film's animation is what I would call incredible. Every movement appears fluid and there was never a point where I thought SHAFT was cutting corners. Fight scenes are some of the best in the entire series due to this considerably high quality. If you were impressed by the visuals in the original TV series, you will be blown away by what you will witness in Rebellion Story.
The soundtrack, composed once again by the lovely Yuki Kajiura, is another strong point. While no single song quite stood out to me in the same way as some of the tracks from the original series, this film has several songs that you will most likely want to go back and listen to again just because of how beautiful they were. Other darker songs perfectly fit the often times disturbing scenes that they are a part of. The opening "Colorful" by ClariS is what you'd expect from a Madoka opening by now, an uplifting J-pop song. While the ending, "Kimi no Gin no Niwa" by Kalafina fits the mood of the finale well but didn't really capture me as much as say, "Magia" or "Hikari Furu" did.
So coming from someone who considers the original TV series of Madoka Magica a masterpiece, did I end up enjoying Rebellion Story? Well, despite my mixed feelings about the conclusion and some pacing issues, I'm confident in saying that I found this movie to be a pleasant experience. As a sequel, it does an alright job, and even stands quite well on its own story-wise for the most part. Does it flat out ruin the power of Episode 12? I don't think so at least--the series is absolutely not ruined by any means. So in that case, we have on our hands a sequel that did indeed come through in the end. Even though it has the fan base split, Rebellion is certainly a welcome addition to one of my favorite franchises of all time. Go in with an open mind, and you just might find yourself enjoying Rebellion Story more than you would think.
It's not often that a film truly defines itself not in the opening act, but in the final 30 minutes, where it takes of its mask and reveals itself for what it truly is. And not many films accomplish this well.
Madoka Rebellion is a heart-warming love story. It really is. By the time Kimi no Gin no Niwa rolled up in the ending, I was in tears at the emotional and absolutely moving ending to the film.
Really though, bar a few moments, most of the film is actually fairly standard as far as Action/Horror/Fantasy Seinen anime goes with
a few dashes of romance in between. What makes this film so special, or indeed, so memorable and heart-wretchingl good, is the final 30 minutes of the film ,where it goes and defies absolutely everything the previous 2 or so hours were about and sets out to define itself as one of the best cinematic experiences I've ever been through.
The first 2 hours are a fairly standard dragthrough, with a few good moments here and there (Pink Goo Scene being one of them), hence, this review is largely about how good the final 30 minutes of the film and how, dear viewer, even after being spoiled of the ending, it is still worth watching.
But before we begin, I'd like to take a moment to praise the amazing animation quality SHAFT could only provide. Their surreal nightmarish style is just so unique as well as being a feast for the eyes, and a heightened budget means that the their style is truly given an opportunity to shine. It fits so well, even the 3DCG bits fit with the general atmosphere of the film.
I'd also like to add why I found the Pink Goo Scene so endearing. It simply was a cruel twisted parody of the other two movies' opening and using it to convey Homura's loss and despair was just perfection.
In the final 30 minutes, where Homura confesses her love for Madoka has all that gut-wretchingly heart-warmingly emotions flowing in me. Indeed, the whole scene itself just deconstructs and defies all the tropes it had going for it in the past 2 hours and proceeds to be something even better than the actual series. One can clearly see Homura's devotion to Madoka and it is conveyed extremely well of how much she went through just for her. And how she really is willing to give up everything for Madoka.
One should not just look at the plot at face value, but at a symbolic, metaphorical way as well. Personally, I see this film as a symbolism of Urobuchi's way of dealing with the fans who don't wanna see the girls suffer and go against his vision. How he deals with this is superb, basically turning Homura as a fan for Madoka, to the point of overwriting the creator's original plans for her and making her own universe rewriting everything. It's a brilliant jab at the fanbase and one not many writers dare to pull, and I admire his bravery in pulling such a stunt so well despite being part of the fanbase he was criticizing. Basically upon rewatching the film, one can determine which character is an analog for what (ie Homura -> Fans; Madoka-> Madoka_(series); Sayaka -> Urobuchi).
In Conclusion, Madoka Rebellion is worth your time, even if you're not too familiar with the series in the first place. Character development for Homura is top-notch and seeing her descent into madness and insanity as well as her progression from hero to villain is just a joy to watch.
Of course, there are a few minor nitpicks I have, but those nitpicks can be set aside because the last 30 minutes were just so good.
First 2 hours - 6/10
FInal 30 minutes - 9/10
Pink Goo Scene - 10/10
I love the Madoka franchise. I had a great time watching this film. There's a lot to scrutinize here. My 7 is a high scoring.
According to Urobuchi, "Rebellion" has nothing to do with the anime TV series. Seeing as it is, though, a sequel to the recap films it is up to debate whether this film is even canonical or not. Rebellion asks for a lot from viewers. It questions older fans by "severing" itself from the main series and develops Urobuchi's central themes in some unconventional ways. Simultaneously it begs the fanbase of the original series to follow along a confusing and often far-flung
narrative in a new and possibly pretentious direction. Due to the position "away" from the TV series Urobuchi has asserted it leads me to believe that this film is both a belaboring of past concepts and strengthening of a young franchise whilst torpedoing into more abstract territory. Luckily though, the film rarely breaks into feeling dishonest about it's content. As it seems to set the stage for more Mahou Shoujo in the future, it is my opinion while this is not a masterpiece it certainly is a milestone achievement and should be watched. The Mahou Shoujo series may eventually become the centerpiece of Urobuchi's philosophy, and with the help of Shinbou Akiyuki may become a stylistic anime classic.
Let me begin with the ending. Rebellion quickly draws huge and obvious comparisons to The End of Evangelion for it's confusing and jumbled close. Unlike The End of Evangelion though there is extremely little closure. Most of the finale of the film is actually slightly incomprehensible. Sure, we as fans can try and decipher the meaning behind some of the films closing events but we really know nothing definitive yet. The film is rarely abstract in the sense of interpretation, but deals heavily in abstractions. While usually this is a misstep by writers that end up writing conclusions exerting self-importance, Urobuchi manages to keep us feasting on his heroines' misfortune. The difference between the two movies deemed the "deconstructions" of their respective genres though is that End of Evangelion reaches a catharsis that was underlying since the first episode. Anno's vehicle for explanation, Shinji, uses his movie time finally deciding whether it is best to live or die, much like Homura. Shinji's decision did not bring into question anything that was previously canonical, and strengthens the finale thematically. The ultimate flaw here was that by having Homura choose life in the final scene of the film, it is corrupting the original narrative slightly.
Madoka's TV series ending was of course up to interpretation, but it was clear that Akemi Homura was in a powerful love with Kaname Madoka. By having Homura pull Madoka back into the plane of physical beings it springboards a lot of questions about their relationship. Has Homura forsaken her love for Madoka and turned it into a lust? Are we supposed to believe that her succumbing to absence of Madoka put her under so much strain that she would snap? Did her life truly become so dependent on Madoka that she would do anything to keep her around? And if that last question is true, why would Homura want to become the embodiment of evil by theoretically killing God? The hardest to understand is Madoka here, who despite being a God at this point does little to vocalize her opinion of what Homura is doing. The end of the film is a massive cliffhanger. The film does promise more great work, but it does not do what it claims to have been doing. It does not provide a conclusion, neither thematically to the series nor definitively to the story. It leaves much to understand about Madoka and her power as a deity, and about Homura. We understood that Homura was miserable but how does she feel now? The conclusion is steeped in massive mystique, and despite delivering a wonderful character study, seems a bit too convenient.
What do I mean? There's a lot of convenience in this film in the narrative aspect, and it's often glossed over. There's a huge amount of content to unravel here, so it makes sense that not everything is explained, nor am I demanding it is. But there are certain plot points that just seem strikingly convenient - Why is Nagisa hidden the whole time as Bebe? If it was to not attract too much attention to the fact her memories had been altered, why wasn't it still simply obvious enough that Bebe was an extremely strange entity? Why were Charlotte and Sayaka chosen as the witches to guide Homura to Madoka? And the biggest question of all, why did Kyuubey and the Incubators care so much as to push Homura's Soul Gem to the limit? And didn't this twist seem rather non-sequitur? How did we get from the ending of the TV series where Homura was, to this "world in world" maze? Without explaining these things, the boundlessness and confusing nature of the Sci-Fi aspect in the Mahou Shoujo series seems to dwarf the tragedy aspect and make it harder to sympathize with. If the film aimed to create less "twist moments" we wouldn't be left with so many blatantly unexplained plot points and often paradoxical content.
But that's part of the fun of Madoka too! I mean it! The Mahou Shoujo series is butt-clenchingly entertaining! It's fun to try and follow the zany twists and turns of the labyrinth-like film, even to the point where paradoxes occur. The ultimate themes from Urobuchi transcend the narrative content, and he explains them in an outrageous manner: Selfishness vs. Selflessness, the tragedy of losing a loved one and it's aftereffects, and the paradoxical nature of human love... Urobuchi has created a work of art that is worth trying to understand. He's vocalized his most honest feelings about these topics, and he's done so believably! And through the mouths of 15-year-old girls! Even if this wasn't the closure you were hoping for after episode 12, this is certainly just as exciting. It's a writer really putting himself on the line, questioning his diehard fanbase by challenging them with new questions and innovating and debunking all sorts of anime cliches. He is doing something unexpected yet not contrary. How easily he could have put this series to rest. It may be convenient that Homura's motives are up to question at the end of the film, but thankfully it means more work from a great writer who loves what he is doing.
Also remember this film is about Homura. Is Sayaka the lead? No. Is Kyouko the lead? No. Is Mami the head? Hue. The other characters remain mostly static in the film, but that is okay. We have to remember that the other characters technically weren't even in this film. It's a one-man and one Incubator and one God show.
As for the animation, Shinbou Akiyuki really out does himself here, and the age-old complaint regarding Studio SHAFT's budget can be completely ignored. This movie has the production and innovative genius to outshine most all animated films before it. The use of stop-motion, interpretive setting, and distinct and disturbing imagery all help catapult this film leagues ahead of it's contemporaries. It's an ambitious thing, this direction. The sparsity and seemingly obsessively exact backgrounds leave each shot a photograph. And by the time the film has reached it's second half the quick cuts bring powerful imagery together by linking each frame. Even without dialogue this film would have an incredible visual narrative. I'd like to praise a particular moment when Madoka descends into Homura's maze and there's a rapid blast of shots showing the two together. An ethical tour-de-force brought on by the cunning direction. Not only a visual treat, it's a visual feast. The cinematography is outstanding, especially for an animated film. And by the time you get to the transformation sequences, you're very aware that SHAFT is simply showing off. I love it.
The original soundtrack draws on it's predecessors heavily, and for the most part uses that incredible score to liven and darken the mood. The new arrangements are all on par, not a tune out of place. Or should I say all but one. The Round Cake song. It's charming and gleeful, but at the same time... I definitely haven't been so disturbed by the series at any other point in the film. Good work keeping me baffled, SHAFT. The opening and ending songs were both nice. It seems SHAFT decided to play it safe in an experimental film and use the same bands to open and close. It's nice for a nostalgic effect but really these two songs add nothing of value to the film, as opposed to The End of Evangelion where Tumbling Down is the emotional height of the film. The soundtrack is still very strong, but the "dark" pop of Kalafina at the close gave a highly artificial feel. I don't even think the end of the film needed music.
So should you watch Rebellion? Absolutely. It's a movie that is going to get a lot of buzz, and not simply in the anime community. It's a strong film, and joins the ranks of other baffling anime films like The End of Evangelion and Adolescence of Utena. It leaves a lot to chew and can be re-watched several times and still feel fresh. Though it remains a confusing piece of history in the Mahou Shoujo series, it will no doubt be an important pivot in Urobuchi Gen's canon of writing.
Let's just rip this bandage off right from the get-go: I am NOT a fan of Madoka Magica in the slightest and the entire franchise makes my skin crawl for reasons I'd rather not get into at the moment. With that said, the TV series was fair enough and most importantly, it ended on a note that millions of fans found to be quite satisfying. Unfortunately, SHAFT in their infinite wisdom decided to slap on a feedbag and start milking the hell out of this franchise because it's the biggest cash cow they've had since the Monogatari series. In late 2013, SHAFT and Aniplex released
a sequel movie, and this movie just irks me on so many levels to the point where I can't even think clearly. This movie manages to evoke so many reactions out of me, but the biggest one would have to be disgust.
I see so many people comparing this movie to Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion, but I just want to make this perfectly clear: Rebellion is NOT like End of Evangelion in the slightest and anyone who earnestly believes this to be the case is a complete and total moron. Whilst I'm not gonna go into a whole spiel about End of Evangelion, I can safely say that it was actually NECESSARY. The TV series suffered from so many production problems and the entire budget was exhausted before the final two episodes even hit the drawing board in the first place. Madoka Magica had no such production problems whatsoever. It had a proper budget to work with and with the exception of the earthquake in Japan that delayed the airing of the final episode, it had a proper conclusion and a rather airtight one at that.
If I really had to say what kind of a sequel Rebellion is, I'd say it has a lot more in common with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children. I mean, both Final Fantasy VII and Madoka Magica ended on such a note where our lead characters learned to move on from the past at the end of their respective romps now that their journeys finally came to an end. Of course, that little development didn't last long as their respective sequel movies had them do a complete 180 and they're back to square 1. Instead of learning to live a life without Madoka, Homura's back to having an unhealthy obsession with her. Honestly, I can understand missing Madoka quite a bit since Homura was stuck in that time loop trying to save her for however long, but the end of the TV series made it clear that Madoka wanted Homura to move on and by the end of it all, it really did look like Homura was gonna keep moving forward. Why then SHAFT decided to nix the idea of showing Homura actually trying to move forward is beyond me.
A lot of this can be chalked up to the fact that the first 2/3s of the movie consists of nothing more than SHAFT violently masturbating in front of my face with that gargantuan budget of theirs. Yeah, I get it: your production values are great, now can I please get *something* of a plot? There's no story here whatsoever, no symbolism of any kind, nothing deep or significant going on at all. All I see is a company going out of their way to pander to fans in the worst ways possible. Now, the final 1/3 of the movie actually DOES try telling a story but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever since everything is just crammed into that little section of the movie. It's like someone on team reminded the writers that this movie had to have something of a plot so they just went on FanFiction.net and ripped off the first thing they saw (why does that make so much sense?).
Now, I could go on and talk about the ending that managed to enrage a LOT of Madoka fans, but let's be real here: this was an Urobutcher project from the get-go. Gen Urobuchi is known for fucking with his characters in any way he can. What I take umbrage with is the fact that Gen Urobuchi said that it wasn't his idea to end the movie like he did and that it was a last-minute decision. Now, I can give him the benefit of the doubt and hope for the best but like I said before: this is the Urobutcher we're dealing with. Rebellion isn't exactly THAT much of a departure from what he does to his characters, especially given how he handled shows like Psycho-Pass and Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom. To me, it felt as if Gen Urobuchi was just trying to save face by saying that the ending was a last-minute change because the ending evoked that much of an outrage from fans of the franchise.
Now, my biggest problem with the ending of the movie is that it leaves room open for more Madoka movies. Seeing as how Madoka's been going strong in Japan for the last few years, it's highly unlikely that SHAFT and Aniplex will stop milking this franchise any time soon. Hell, I can practically smell another sequel movie given the fan reaction to Rebellion. If there's one practice that really gets under my skin, it's when companies overextend their franchises. It's the reason why I have a deep-seated disdain for almost anything related to Dragon Ball and it's also one of the MANY reasons why the Madoka franchise as a whole makes my skin crawl. Rebellion is proof enough that SHAFT and Aniplex don't give a shit about quality and only care about your money.
To all the fans that praise this movie as a masterpiece, I ask only one favour from all of you: please, stop lying to yourselves. This movie is appalling and you all know damn well that's true. Stop trying to look too deep for meaning that just isn't even there. The desire to like every entry of the franchise you're a fan of is understandable, but you have to come to terms with the fact that not every instalment of your favourite franchise will be up to par with what made you a fan in the first place. There is nothing redeemable about Rebellion in the slightest. At best, it's popcorn material and at worst, it's nothing more than SHAFT's way of extorting more money out of their fans.
Tl;dr version? Rebellion is a shitty movie, don't watch it unless you're in the mood for brainless entertainment, something that's so outrageously bad that it's actually funny, or an unfulfilling entry to your favourite franchise that'll make you question why you're a fan in the first place.
Anyway, that's all for now. Feedback is always welcome and with that, I'm out. Peace :)
This third and final installment in the Madoka trilogy might seems to live up to it's predecessor at first glance but in the end it is a total disappointment. This review will not be without spoilers so may whoever that read it be warned.
I'll start with the good points of this movie and will slowly bring the main problems with this movie.
Let's start off with the art. While it may not please everyone, the art has been quite faithful to the actual series. The animation is actually one of the show's strong point, some fight were actually well coordinated even though it came at the
cost of a lot of 'quality' shots.
I am no good judge when it comes to music so instead of trying to write a bunch of technical nonsense I'll just say that like the first two movies, I enjoyed that aspect of the movie. The sound aspect is pretty faithful to the last two movies as well so if you enjoyed them, you probably will also enjoy this.
Now let's start with the actual problem of the movies: It destroyed whatever sense the first two movies made. Don't get me wrong, I like the idea of Homura becoming an existence that contrast Madoka's, the problem doesn't lie here. The problem is not the end goal of the movie but the path they took to reach it.
The movie start in a weird world where we can easily associate elements that were present in the two others installments. Characters that shouldn't be there are there, things that should have happened didn't happen (and vice versa)... this world is a complete mess. It doesn't make sense for a while until we learn that this world was a labyrinth, we then learn that Homura created that world. That part of the story actually made a lot of sense.
Homura, more than anyone, wished for a world where she could live happily with Madoka and, additionally, their other friends. She is the person that rewind-ed time so many time while enduring so much pain in order to save her friend. Even if she wanted to uphold Madoka's laws it would be easy to see how she could desire such a world.
By the time we learn about these fact there was already an element that didn't quite make sense: Sayaka's and Bebe's existence. Madoka's wish as a magical girl was to erase every witch before they 'hatched' be it in the past or the future or even in a complete different dimension, nothing less but nothing more. That request created a paradox that rewrote the world's rules and gave form to Madoka's wish as a system. Technically Madoka's existence became close to a 'god' but she isn't a god. She isn't supposed to be an omnipotent being that can decide to send some follower at her whim. She became a system which can only destroy witches before they hatch, a system that lost it's individuality and it's will.
It would be one thing if Sayaka and Bebe were created from Homura's labyrinth but they are following straight order from Madoka and that is outside her actual capacity, but that's the less important problem.
The main problem is Homura suddenly being able to rewrite the laws Madoka made. It can hardly be said to be anything else than an asspull.
Homura's desire to save Madoka created many different timeline in which Madoka was the center. The reason for these world to exist to begin with is Madoka and nothing else. That's why every time Homura rewind-ed the time, Madoka's latent potential as a witch grew since a witch's power is representative of it's importance in the world. Madoka being the reason of many world's existence possess a power with no precedent, at least nothing that Homura should be able to interfere with.
That's when, on the premise of love, the show destroyed whatever little sense it made.
I doubt I need to explain myself over why this doesn't make any sense. One isn't able to do whatever he wants simply because he wants to. The first two movies clearly expressed that there are thing that people are helpless against, a world where despair exist. The storyteller created a world where things are tied together and make at the very least some kind of sense. Homura couldn't suddenly defeat Walpurgisnacth because she wanted to. Once turned into a witch, there is no way to save a girl. Someone will not necessary return your kindness because you decided to be kind to him. It's not One piece where people can become stronger out of willpower alone, power and will are two completely separate entities. Yet they decided to take the route where Homura could do whatever she wanted because 'power of love'.
It's disappointing to see the story ending this way, it could have been handled much better than that. The movie in itself was enjoyable to watch but as a piece in the trilogy it is a huge disappointment.
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica is easily one of my favourite anime. For that reason, I was super excited to see the third movie. My friends warned me it was confusing - I was sure it wouldn't be too bad. I ended up putting it off... Until last night. Needless to say, I was even more excited when I finally got to watch it.
Right from the start, I found it a little confusing, but that cleared up later on, more or less. I loved how I got more of Sayaka, Kyouko, Mami and even Bebe. The art was depressing, but apart from scenery it wasn't
too bad. However, once we approached around the midway point, things just went haywire and I struggled to make sense of it all. Concepts which were introduced and built on in the tv show (and, I presume, the first two movies as well) were discarded.
The ending left me feeling confused, cold, and wishing that I hadn't watched this.
The characters were generally the same, though some went through inexplicable changes. The prime example of this is Homura Akemi. Once my favourite character, this movie stuffed up her character to the extreme - so much that I found myself incapable to like her anymore.
I did like the art in Madoka Magica, but in this movie the colour scheme and the repeated cutscenes just became more and more depressing. I certainly did not enjoy it as much as in the t.v. series.
I don't know why they even bothered with this movie. Except for the music, everything just went downhill. I suppose that a continuation of the story was a good idea, but this simply changed everything - and not in a positive way, I might add.
I honestly don't know what do say, perhaps why this review is so short. I simply cannot express my disappointment enough.
Okay, so I have never been the biggest Madoka Magica fan but since this movie had alot of hype around it, I decided I would finally complete the Madoka Magica saga, and to my surprise, I found this conclusion to be.....pretty meh. Especially if you're not a fan of Akemi Homura, the girl this movie is most focused on.
The biggest part about this movie is how Madoka was finally "saved" from dispair and agony by Homura, but not the way Madoka wanted to be saved. Aside from the super-sized weirdness factor, the way they made the magical gang be more like the Mighty Morphin Power
Rangers, and how everyone seemed to be so powerless against Homura (even when she hadn't become Homucifer yet) is something that really destroys the hype around this movie. I expected an Eva 2.2 type of finale, but instead I think they took some notes from Eva 3.3 and tried to make a whole new storyline out of an ending to an already average one (yes, I thought the original was average, sue me).
The music is great, the animation is brilliant from almighty Studio SHAFT, and the girls are still the same besides the "IT'S MORPHIN TIME" and "WHO'S GOT THE CAKEY" scenes, so you won't have to read a spinoff of a "Puella Magi" series to understand what is going on (unless you haven't seen the original series in which case you should very much do that).
Overall, like I expected it to, it didn't live up to my expectations. Instead of the girls fighting for what they want, they let Homura run all over them by not expecting the worst from a girl who throughout the entire movie screams about how she wants Madoka back. The most memorable scene will be about 15 minutes away from the end of the movie, but even then, it's not one that should've ended what was called the "greatest anime of 2011".
Jebus gives Puella Magi Madoka Magica 3: Rebellion: 3 bebe's out of 5.
The third Madoka movie divided many fans and critics because of its ''weird'' first act and (mostly) because of its notorious ending! There are many who deemed it inferior to the TV series, others who treat it as ''misunderstood'', and also others who call it ''completely unnecessary''!
Well, if you ask what I believe, then I think it's truly a misunderstood anime film, and for a simple reason: Rebellion isn't just equal in quality with the TV series... IS EVEN BETTER! Why? Because it's much more daring!
In the post-Evangelion anime history it's quite rare for anime/manga to be daring without the creators feared that the audience/readers
may dislike it... But, Gen Urobuchi takes the series basic premise and goes deeper with it, revealing the one plot twist after another, and leading us to the final twist -
which is off course competely unexpected! Now some of you may hate him for what he gave us in the end, but in my opinion, he deserves to be congratulated by all of us for giving the Madoka franchise not an end, but a completely new beginning!
Now, the film's first act may baffle those that have seen the TV series ending, but if you give it some time, you'll realise what's happening!
The art of the film is marvelous, the music is just great, and as of our beloved characters are all here and well, and we have a great chance to see more of them (especially Mami), or even a different side of them (Homura)! Now, the character of Nagisa may not be popular with the fans (deemed unnecessary), but even she provides her role - and I think she will play a more important role in future sequels!
I enjoyed Rebellion bacause it is to the anime industry, the same that Emerald Twilight is for the comics industry: A controversial storyline that it will leave the fans with conflicting feelings about it and it will make them wanting more of the Madoka franchise! Now, some fans may not like the fact that the story will stay ''incomplete'' until the next Madoka anime project comes - and that's why in terms of enjoyment I give to the film a 9 instead of a 10... But overall, I still give it a 10 because it's still a great anime film, so if you are a true Madoka fan, all you have to do is to just ignore all those silly comments about the ending and give it a watch!
Note: This is my first review, and Engish isn't my first language, so forgive me if I make any mistakes!